Virtual Futures presents a panel discussion, and a series of short-story readings, on using near-future fiction to foster transformative conversations between scientists and other audiences.
By imagining possible futures, near-future fiction has the capacity to seize on the science and technology currently researched in laboratory environments and take it just far enough that it can provoke audiences to think on impending potential implications for society.
How can science fiction be used to create a self-reflexive capacity in scientists? How can fiction help communicate scientifc research to the wider public? How can encounters between the arts, humanities, social sciences, and hard sciences or engineering be fostered?
Pippa Goldschmidt, Science Fiction Author
Simon Ings, Arts Editor of the New Scientist
Ken MacLeod, Science Fiction Author
Stephen Oram, Science Fiction Author
Jennifer Rohn, Founder of LabLit.com
Geoff Ryman, Science Fiction Author
Pippa Goldschmidt enjoys writing fiction about science. She’s the author of the novel The Falling Sky and the short story collection The Need for Better Regulation of Outer Space. In 2016, she was a winner of the MRC Suffrage Science award and her poem ‘Physics for unwary students’ was chosen to be one of the Scottish Poetry Library’s Best Scottish Poems.
Simon Ings began his career writing science fiction novels before widening his brief to explore perception (The Eye: A Natural History), 20th-century radical politics (The Weight of Numbers), the shipping system (Dead Water) and augmented reality (Wolves). Currently New Scientist’s arts editor, he writes regularly for The Spectator and the Daily Telegraph. His latest non-fiction is Stalin and the Scientists (Faber, October 2016). The Smoke, his most recent novel, was published by Gollancz in February 2018.
Ken MacLeod is the author of seventeen novels from The Star Fraction (1995) to The Corporation Wars: Emergence (Orbit, 2017), and many articles and short stories.His novels and stories have received three BSFA awards and three Prometheus Awards, and several have been short-listed for the Clarke and Hugo Awards. In 2009 he was Writer in Residence at the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum at Edinburgh University, and was Guest Selector for the Science Fiction strand at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2017.
Stephen Oram writes science fiction, often in collaboration with scientists, and is lead curator for near-future fiction at Virtual Futures. He’s been a hippie-punk, religious-squatter and an anarchist-bureaucrat. He is published in several anthologies, has two published novels, Quantum Confessions and Fluence. His collection of sci-fi shorts, Eating Robots and Other Stories, was described by the Morning Star as one of the top radical works of fiction in 2017 .
Jennifer Rohn is a practicing scientist as well as a novelist, journalist, public speaker, science communicator and pundit. She coined the term ‘lab lit’ to describe realistic novels featuring scientists as central characters. She founded the popular website LabLit.com to help promote the use of science and scientist characters in mainstream fiction, and to illuminate the world of scientists and laboratory culture. Jenny’s writing has appeared in many places, including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, BBC News, Nature and The Scientist.
Geoff Ryman has won the Nebula Award, the Arthur C Clarke Award twice, the British Science Fiction Association award three times and 11 other science fiction or fantasy awards. He was the commissioning editor of When it Changed (Comma Press) an anthology of commissioned collaborations between scientists and writers. Currently he is publishing a series of interview on Strange Horizons: 100 African Writers of SFF.
This event is part of the project ‘Transforming Future Science through Science Fiction’, run by Dr Christine Aicardi, Science and Technology Studies researcher at King’s College London, in collaboration with near-future fiction writer Stephen Oram and Virtual Futures. The project saw science fiction authors Pippa Goldschmidt, Stephen Oram and Geoff Ryman collaborate with scientists at King’s College London to adapt cutting-edge research into short stories. The project is supported by the Cultural Institute at King’s College London and the Human Brain Project, under European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme.
18:00 – 18:30: Registration
18:30 – 19:30: Panel Disucssion
19:30 – 20:00: Audience Q&A
20:00 – 20:30: Drinks
Discounts are available for students and early career researchers.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for Promo Codes.
Tickets are FREE for Kings College London Students.
Waterstones Tottenham Court Road is the largest Waterstones branch to be opened in London in a decade and features a bar and a cultural events programme within a brutalist interior
Virtual Futures (Est.1994) is a Community Interest Company (CIC). Ticket sales help to cover the cost of filming and documentation.
Photo Credit: KayVee.INC, The Long Awaited – Copyright license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)